After a restful, blog post-free vacation, I was finally able to catch up on all the TiVo’d shows that were missed. Among them was last week’s episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, in which Charlie and Sweet Dee try to make a viral video. But in what looks like a missed opportunity, the FX Network decided to not make its viral video actually, you know, viral.
The episode showed a pretty good understanding of what makes a viral video (a volleyball thrown at an unsuspecting face). Charlie stumbles across an actual hit when he sneakily posts Dee’s personal video diary with her talking about her… ummm… rash. Labeled “PatheticGirl43,” it quickly gets 80,000 plays.
But after some searching in the real world, “PatheticGirl43″ is nowhere to be found on YouTube. Well, there’s an unofficial version that someone just taped off their TV screen (it only has 1,177 hits). This begs the question: why didn’t FX go ahead and put the clip on YouTube?
An FX rep told me that
none of the show’s clips are supposed to be up on YouTube (Update: the rep called me back to correct his previous statement to say that FX does in fact put its content up on YouTube), but it’s not up on Hulu or FXNetworks.com either, where there’s a week window between TV broadcast and online. Given the show’s popularity on Hulu — though there aren’t specific playcounts, it’s the top-ranked show for this week and among the most popular of all time — it seems likely that the web-savvy audience would probably go looking for it.
Out of context the “PatheticGirl43″ clip might not have been viral on its own, but given the popularity of the show (FX ordered an additional 39 episodes), this would have just been free promotional gravy for the fans to pass around. That wouldn’t have been pathetic at all.